On October 25 – 26, 2019, over 100 people joined us at Red Mountain Resort in Rossland, BC, for the Columbia Basin Mixer. The three-day Basin Food Summit kicked off on October 24th with the Food and Buyers Expo. The YA Mixer coincided with the Agricultural Forum on day two, with the third day full of unique programming aimed at new and young entrants into agriculture and food production. Participants attended the event from all across BC, travelling from as far away as Vancouver Island and central BC to join in the multi-day programming aimed at knowledge sharing, capacity building, establishing new relationships and strengthening existing ones.
The Columbia Basin event series is made possible with funding from Columbia Basin Trust. Thank you to our fearless Mixer organizer, Damon Chouinard, our event hosts at Red Mountain Resort and to our event sponsors: Kootenay Co-op, Oso Negro Roastery and Rancho Vignola. Some of the presentations from the Summit’s knowledgable guest speakers can be found here.
A zero-waste event, meals were served family-style on glassware, everyone who attended received a re-usable branded coffee mug and were instructed to download an app with the schedule and program in order to decrease paper use.
Event organizers put together creative and interactive ways for people attending the Summit to think about how their personal food policies are defined by things like their everyday decisions, purchase habits, belief systems surrounding food and views about climate change.
DAY 1: FOOD AND BUYERS EXPO
The second annual Food and Buyers Expo provided an opportunity for farms and food businesses to showcase their products and brands to a variety of buyers and retailers from across BC in trade show fashion. Some workshops and presentations took place while the expo was happening so that producers could take advantage of the industry experts in the room.
There was an incredible variety of food producers at this second Expo from spice companies, to pie companies, teas, market gardens and proteins, chocolates, salsas, fermented foods, gelato and much more! Some businesses that attended last year came back again to scope out new retailers, while many new producers joined this year for their first time. You can view a complete list of participants here!
DAY 2: AGRICULTURAL FORUM
The second day featured several streams of workshops, presentations and discussions that offered something for everyone. With participants from a variety of community organizations, government bodies, technical agencies, start-up farms, and larger operations, topics were varied and included things like climate change adaptation, growing with bioplastics, collaborative community discussions, wildfire preparation, transition and food policy, to name a few.
Dr. Love-Ese Chile talks bioplastics at the Agricultural Forum
At around 4:30 pm, the power went out due to a windstorm that knocked over some trees on a nearby power line. Everyone was in great spirits despite the outage cutting the afternoon’s activities slightly short. I take my hat off to the Resort staff for getting our beautiful family style banquet dinner served up in the midst of chaos!
Around 8 pm, in the middle of Corky Evans speech that caused multiple generations of friends and strangers to just be quiet and listen, the lights came back to cheers and applause. It was at that moment you could really see all the emotions on the faces in the room, as bountiful as the feast before us. I can only speak for myself but the magic of that evening and the words that were shared in that space are something I will not soon forget. I am confident I do not speak just for myself when I say that I am grateful to have paid witness to that moment – something Corky said was decades in the making.
DAY 3: YA MIXER
We couldn’t have asked for a more awesome group of people to join us at the inaugural YA Mixer in the Columbia Basin / Kootenays! There was a balanced mix of new and experienced farmers in the group, from third generation farmers to farmers just finishing their first season. The intro circle was full of terrific senses of humour and good chuckles.
Day two featured topics like regenerative farming, soil health and fertility, business planning, social media and marketing. Guest speakers included permaculture specialists Rob Avis and Takota Coen, Bill Chapman and Jo Tobias. Participants had the opportunity to engage in relevant discussions in small break-out groups and engage in Q&As with regenerative agriculture and soil experts.
Thank you to everyone who made the journey out to Red Mountain! If you have feedback about the event or how it could be improved next year, drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org! Until next year!
JOIN US FOR ANOTHER COLUMBIA BASIN EVENT!
- Farming Funghi Forum – February 2020, More Info TBD
GOT LAND? WANT LAND?
Through the B.C. Land Matching Program, Young Agrarians is offering support to farmers looking for land for their farm business and landowners looking for farmers to farm their land. The Columbia Basin Land Matcher will be attending the event to answer any questions about accessing land through this program. For those unable to join us, you can send a message to email@example.com for more information.
The Columbia Basin event series is made possible with funding from Columbia Basin Trust.